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Thursday, January 03, 2013

The Jorge Ebro Hall of Fame Ballot

First-timer Ebro tweets…

Entregue mi boleta en blanco. Todo es muy confuso para mi y creo que la MLB le ha dado una responsabilidad muy grande a la prensa.

Which Der Bingles into…“Return my ballot blank. Everything is very confusing to my and I think that MLB has given a huge responsibility to the press”

Thanks, as ever, to icho1977.

 

Repoz Posted: January 03, 2013 at 08:25 PM | 31 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. JRVJ Posted: January 03, 2013 at 08:48 PM (#4338444)
Ok, Twit by Twit:

"Este ano ha sido mi primero como miembro del Baseball Writers en que voto para el Salon de la Fama."

TRANSLATION: "This year is my first one as a member of the BWAA in which I can vote for the HoF".

"Entregue mi boleta en blanco. Todo es muy confuso para mi y creo que la MLB le ha dado una responsabilidad muy grande a la prensa"

TRANSLATION: "I turned in a blank ballot. This is all very confusing to me, and I think that MLB has weighted down the press with a very large responsibility".

"La MLB es la que debe determinar la suerte historica de esta generacion sospechosa. No los reporteros."

TRANSLATION: "It's MLB who should determine the historical fate of this generation, regarding which there is so much suspicion. Not reporters".

"Cuando me inicie en el BBWAA sonaba con este dia de votar al Salon. Hoy no puedo evitar cierto desanimo."

TRANSLATION: "When I first started out (AS A MEMBER) of the BBWAA, I dreamed of someday voting for the HoF. Today, I can't help but feel somewhat discouraged".

"Tal vez para el 2014 cambie de idea y posicion. Hoy me voy en blanco."

TRANSLATION: "Maybe for 2014 I will have changed my mind and position. Today, I simply left my ballot blank" (The last phrase is a bit of an idiom, and could be translated as "I struck out").

"En principio estime votar por Craig Biggio, pero ahora no estoy seguro de nada ni de nadie."

TRANSLATION: "I first I considered voting for Craig Biggio, but now I a unsure about everybody".

"Se que esto del Salon de la Fama despierta pasiones, pero trato de ser honesto conmigo mismo"

TRANSLATION: "I know that this whole HoF thing can stir passions, but I am trying to be honest with myself".
   2. JRVJ Posted: January 03, 2013 at 08:50 PM (#4338447)
FWIW, I am a certified public translator (as well as an attorney) here in Panama (Spansh-English; English-Spanish), so while I may not catch every Cuban idiom that Mr. Ebro writes, I'm pretty sure I caught everything here (*)

(*) For the really bored out there, Cuban and Panamanian Spanish are of the same Caribbean type (as well as Dominican, Puerto Rican, Venezuelan and Caribbean Colombian Spanish), so we are a lot closer to each other than say - Cuban (or Panamanian) Spanish to Mexican Spanish.
   3. AJMcCringleberry Posted: January 03, 2013 at 09:08 PM (#4338456)
"I don't believe I should help decide who should be in the HOF, but instead of refraining from voting I'll vote for no one." It's the Latin Murray Chass!
   4. DEFCON: jive Posted: January 03, 2013 at 09:13 PM (#4338459)
Well, I for one am convinced: Jorge Ebro's ballot should be taken away and given to the entity known as JRVJ.

FWIW, I am a speaker of a mishmash of kitchen and religious Spanish, with a solid accento castillano and a decent Mexican accent as well. I harbor in addition an abiding love for the Cuban/Andaluz tendency to swallow final syllables, as well as the sound of the Venezuelan accent. All of which is to say, I am about as qualified to make this nomination as, apparently, Sr. Ebro is to possess his wasted vote.
   5. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: January 03, 2013 at 09:18 PM (#4338465)
This looks like a case for Arpaio.
   6. Gonfalon B. Posted: January 03, 2013 at 09:19 PM (#4338466)
La gente, gente. Aunque hay una o dos papeletas dudosas por ahí, hay que respetar el consenso.
   7. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: January 03, 2013 at 09:31 PM (#4338475)
He should have voted for Sammy Sosa and just said "I don't know English."
   8. Cuban X Senators Posted: January 03, 2013 at 09:37 PM (#4338482)
"Nunca en mi vida he visto una boleta con más que un candidato, pero en la otra mano, me parece que los americanos no pueden contar ninguna boleta correctamente."
   9. Howie Menckel Posted: January 03, 2013 at 09:45 PM (#4338487)

Pasare.

   10. Tschingsch Posted: January 03, 2013 at 10:00 PM (#4338505)
¿Qué?
   11. Gonfalon B. Posted: January 03, 2013 at 10:10 PM (#4338516)
#1:
Twit by Twit

That's a pretty good summation of this ballot process.
   12. Posada Posse Posted: January 03, 2013 at 11:01 PM (#4338553)
Señor Ebro, no sea un vago incompetente y haga su trabajo.

Mr. Ebro, don't be an incompetent lazy-ass and do your work.
   13. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: January 03, 2013 at 11:04 PM (#4338555)
Seriously, what's going on with some of these voters? There's no crying in baseball. Sack up and vote. There are at least a dozen Hall of Famers on this ballot - if I see one more person turn in a blank ballot or refuse to vote, I'm gonna scream.
   14. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 03, 2013 at 11:58 PM (#4338602)
Qué hay de malo en estos votantes? Por qué son tan 'Pansies? Y por qué los esteroides cuestión significa que la persona no puede votar sobre Tim Raines?
   15. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: January 04, 2013 at 03:45 AM (#4338721)
El ####.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: January 04, 2013 at 04:17 AM (#4338726)
I can't resist ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6EaoPMANQM
   17. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 04, 2013 at 09:54 AM (#4338774)
Seriously, what's going on with some of these voters? There's no crying in baseball. Sack up and vote. There are at least a dozen Hall of Famers on this ballot - if I see one more person turn in a blank ballot or refuse to vote, I'm gonna scream.


I will grant that in the recent past, many voters haven't taken the "sportsmanship", "character", and "integrity" criteria specified in the HoF Rules for Election into account when making a decision (otherwise we wouldn't have the Pete Rose rule in there). I will also grant they are being used as a crutch by a significant number of voters who want an excuse for not voting for PED users. But those criteria are still listed in the rules, and a voter has the right (and I would argue the responsibility) to apply those criteria to the ballot.

There's enough evidence that suggests that PED usage was widespread in baseball during the period of time that the players who are on this ballot and who are strong HoF candidates based on playing record played so that I think a voter can reasonably conclude that none of the "dozen Hall of Famers" on this ballot can be assumed to be 100% clean. If a voter believes that PED usage should be an absolute bar to HoF candidacy per the criteria listed above, then a voter should not vote for anyone that he can't assume is 100% clean. On this ballot, it's not unreasonable for a voter to come to the conclusion that since none of the good candidates can be assumed to be 100% clean, the only way for a voter to express that opinion is to submit a blank ballot.

I don't agree with that approach to the ballot, but from my perspective it is just as valid under the HoF rules for election as one that gives little weight to those additional criteria in the rules, and I'm not going to fault a voter for submitting a blank ballot under those circumstances.

In this case, it seems that Mr. Ebro handed in a blank ballot because he doesn't believe that the BBWAA should be making the decision. If that's his belief, then what he should do is not vote. Handing in a blank ballot is rendering a judgment.

-- MWE
   18. JRVJ Posted: January 04, 2013 at 10:37 AM (#4338798)
4, for the record, I am very much a human being (said in an Elephant Mannish voice). And JRVJ are my initials.
   19. JJ1986 Posted: January 04, 2013 at 10:44 AM (#4338805)
On this ballot, it's not unreasonable for a voter to come to the conclusion that since none of the good candidates can be assumed to be 100% clean, the only way for a voter to express that opinion is to submit a blank ballot.


But the steroid era dates back to (at the latest) 1988. This shouldn't only have come up now, these writers should have been casting blank votes for almost a decade now.
   20. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: January 04, 2013 at 11:34 AM (#4338856)
Entregue mi boleta en blanco. Todo es muy confuso para mi y creo que la MLB le ha dado una responsabilidad muy grande a la prensa.


After machine-translating from Spanish to French to Japanese to German to Italian to Dutch to English, it comes out: "The Devil eats Cheez-Whiz!"

No, actually, it's: "My vote would go back empty. I have a huge responsibility for me all very confusing and the MLB, press." OK.
   21. J.R. Wolf Posted: January 04, 2013 at 12:44 PM (#4338943)
Hurray for Jorge! Pointing out that the press should not select HOF members is the right thing to do!
   22. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: January 04, 2013 at 01:06 PM (#4338964)
I can't resist ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6EaoPMANQM

I love this scene so, so much. This one might work too.
   23. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: January 04, 2013 at 01:11 PM (#4338969)
My 'kitchen Spanish' isn't good enough to tell if it's authentic, but [6] cracked me up.
   24. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 04, 2013 at 01:14 PM (#4338971)
There's enough evidence that suggests that PED usage was widespread in baseball during the period of time that the players who are on this ballot and who are strong HoF candidates based on playing record played so that I think a voter can reasonably conclude that none of the "dozen Hall of Famers" on this ballot can be assumed to be 100% clean.


A voter can reasonably conclude that none of the dozen Hall of Famers on this ballot can be assumed to be virgins, also. It's not the conclusion that is unreasonable (*); it's what the voter is doing with the conclusion that is unreasonable.

(*) Though it kind of is. Of 12 players of that era, it is unreasonable to assume that ALL of them used steroids. 6 of them? Sure. 9 of them? Fine. But all of them? No, that's not reasonable.

If a voter believes that PED usage should be an absolute bar to HoF candidacy per the criteria listed above,


And this is where the voter is not just being unreasonable, but is simply wrong. There is nothing in the rules or in precedent that dictates that PED usage be held an absolute bar to HOF candidacy. There are amps users in, there are cheaters in (Perry). And so barring known or suspected steroids users from the HOF is a new standard; and it is wrong to hold this generation of players to a new and different standard. Not simply unreasonable. Wrong. It would be as wrong as suddenly deciding that backup infielders needed to be inducted.

then a voter should not vote for anyone that he can't assume is 100% clean. On this ballot, it's not unreasonable for a voter to come to the conclusion that since none of the good candidates can be assumed to be 100% clean, the only way for a voter to express that opinion is to submit a blank ballot.


In my view, the logic train that one uses to arrive at that destination is not only unreasonable, but is wrong.
   25. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 04, 2013 at 02:46 PM (#4339074)
if I see one more person turn in a blank ballot or refuse to vote, I'm gonna scream.

I think there's a big difference.

If you don't want to vote, fine. But a blank ballot drags everybody down, you need some real evidence for that.
   26. DanG Posted: January 04, 2013 at 03:32 PM (#4339128)
A voter's primary task is to elect the best candidates. Blank ballots should not be counted in the total. Note them as memoranda, but don't allow them to be a barrier to election.
   27. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 04, 2013 at 03:50 PM (#4339144)
A voter's primary task is to elect the best candidates. Blank ballots should not be counted in the total. Note them as memoranda, but don't allow them to be a barrier to election.


A blank ballot is no more illegitimate than a ballot with one vote is. The problem is not the blank ballot per se -- in some years a blank ballot might be completely fine -- it's the reasoning that leads one to submit a blank ballot from a field of a dozen or so qualified candidates. Or to not vote for a Barry Bonds.

In this election, it tells that the voter is either unwilling or unable to take his voting privilege seriously.
   28. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 04, 2013 at 04:21 PM (#4339182)
There is nothing in the rules or in precedent that dictates that PED usage be held an absolute bar to HOF candidacy.


Nor is there anything in the rules or precedent that dictates that it isn't. The rules only specify that the voter include sportsmanship, integrity, and character among the criteria that he uses to vote, with no requirement that he give them any particular weight. And precedent - well, very few voters voted for Joe Jackson for the HoF (a couple did on the first ballot) even though there was no absolute bar at the time in the rules that kept them from considering what he did.

There are amps users in, there are cheaters in (Perry). And so barring known or suspected steroids users from the HOF is a new standard; and it is wrong to hold this generation of players to a new and different standard.


Not so. Standards are never fixed; they change all the time, largely in response to things that we've learned over the years. We hold people accountable for things for which they were never held accountable even 20-30 years ago, and tolerate other things that we never would have tolerated in the past.

PED usage, for whatever reason, is far less acceptable to the HoF voting population (and I think to a majority of baseball fans) than amphetamine usage, or Perry's spitball (or Drysdale's, for that matter). It's seen as providing an advantage in a way that other forms of cheating don't. As I have speculated before, I think that's because it adds a degree of separation between the baseball player and the average fan in a way that other forms of cheating don't. Baseball fans relate to players in a way that other sports fans don't, and I think that's because the perceived gap between a baseball fan and a player is smaller. Most people aren't big enough to play pro football, or tall enough to play pro basketball, or able to skate well enough to play pro hockey - but the differences between baseball fans and players are more subtle, and I think that because PEDs tend to make baseball players "less like us", they tend to be treated more harshly by baseball fans than fans of other sports.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with using different standards. In a very real sense, the sabermetric revolution itself has been about changing the standards by which players are evaluated. But I somehow suspect that the ones who insist HoF voters apply the same standards now that they did before aren't complaining about their own use of different standards to evaluate, say, Lou Whitaker or Bobby Grich.

-- MWE
   29. Squash Posted: January 04, 2013 at 04:59 PM (#4339232)
Baseball fans relate to players in a way that other sports fans don't, and I think that's because the perceived gap between a baseball fan and a player is smaller. Most people aren't big enough to play pro football, or tall enough to play pro basketball, or able to skate well enough to play pro hockey - but the differences between baseball fans and players are more subtle, and I think that because PEDs tend to make baseball players "less like us", they tend to be treated more harshly by baseball fans than fans of other sports.

That's probably part of it but the real thing is the home run records (and perhaps those two factors are connected - once "guys like us" started breaking legendary home run records and were revealed to be using steroids while doing it, everyone went nuts). No sports records in America are cherished and as widely known as the yearly and career home run records. Once those records started to fall - and then to be smashed and topped repeatedly in the case of the yearly record, the most cherished of them all - and once 500 home runs became commonplace instead of a rare career achievement is when the worm turned.
   30. Walt Davis Posted: January 04, 2013 at 10:27 PM (#4339415)
once 500 home runs became commonplace instead of a rare career achievement is when the worm turned.

The late 1960s?

Mays 65
Mantle 67
Mathews 67
Aaron 68
Mays 69 #600, 2nd ever
Banks 70
Aaron 71 #600
Killebrew 71
Robinson 71
Aaron 73 #700, 2nd ever
Aaron 74 #715

That was 7 guys in 7 seasons plus the two #600s and the all-time record. Nobody seemed to mind, nobody seemed to downplay the achievement (except in Mathews' case I suppose).

Then McCovey in 78, Reggie 84, Schmidt 87, so things had slowed down until:

Murray 97
McGwire 99
Bonds 01
Bonds #600 02 (I was there)
Palmeiro 03
Sosa 03
Griffey 04
Bonds #700 04

From 1997 to 2006, fewer guys passed the 500th HR threshold and the 600th HR threshold than from 65 to 71. McGwire is on the HoF ballot in 07, meaning voting took place Dec 06, before Bonds had even broken the record. There were a lot of guys on the threshold of 500 but 500 HR was not "commonplace" even by the time McGwire hit the ballot much less during his career.

Then ...

Bonds #756 07
Sosa #600 07
AROD 07
Thomas 07
Thome 07

now there ya go.

Griffey #600 08
Manny 08
Sheff 09
AROD #600 10
Thome #600 11

Even with all that, it's still just 11 guys over 13 seasons to cross the 500 threshold. It was easier to hit HR but there were also more teams, an era of expansion and having the DH certainly helped Thomas and Thome to make it. Most of those earlier guys were in 18-20 team leagues whereas these guys were in 26-30 team leagues, so about 50% more players. 7 to 11 is not a big jump under those circumstances.

Even the totals aren't that out of whack. Bonds barely beat Aaron. Mays is still #4 and Griffey couldn't catch him (ARod will probably pass him). Thome and Sosa are outliers but Mac is behind Robinson; Palmeiro is behind Killebrew; Manny is between Schmidt and Reggie; Thomas is tied with McCovey (and Williams). If you look at the top 20, 5 are from the 60s golden era and 9 from the recent era.

I don't want to downplay it too much -- there were a ton of HRs in the sillyball era. It was something like the golden era + 10% -- i.e think of Sosa more in the 540-550 range and Sheffield more like Yaz or Winfield.

By the way, Albert is likely to hit #500 this year (475) at the age of 33, a year younger than Mays and Aaron. The only other active player with a really good shot is Cabrera (321 at 29) although Konerko and Dunn have an outside shot. (Dunn would have a much better shot but I'm not convinced he's got more than a couple of years left.) Prince has a lot of work to do but if he can make it through this contract without collapsing, he should make it.
   31. cardsfanboy Posted: January 04, 2013 at 11:11 PM (#4339440)
A voter's primary task is to elect the best candidates. Blank ballots should not be counted in the total. Note them as memoranda, but don't allow them to be a barrier to election.


Really? I thought the voters primary task is to vote for candidates that they think belong in the hof...if there is no one on the ballot that they think belongs, it's perfectly reasonable to submit a blank ballot.


Edit: I agree with Ray(post 27)

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